March 29, 2017
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell
Phone Number: (404) 893-7000
Physician And Owner Of Atlanta Pain Clinic Sentenced For Illegally Prescribing Painkillers
ATLANTA - Nisar A. Piracha, the former primary physician and owner of Piracha Wellness Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, has been sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute oxycodone, methadone, and alprazolam. While operating the clinic, Piracha illegally prescribed dangerous quantities of these prescription painkillers for no legitimate medical purpose.
Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “This is a good example of the commitment DEA has made to aggressively go after ‘illegal pill mills’ and bring to justice criminals who take advantage of local communities. We are committed to ensuring that unethical physicians who violate their oath by indiscriminately and illegally prescribing dangerous drugs are no longer able to operate with impunity.”
“The defendant ignored the basic standards of his profession and preyed upon individuals addicted to prescription drugs in return for a steady cash flow,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “With every illegal prescription, the defendant not only abused the trust that society places in physicians, but also fed the cycle of prescription drug abuse and addiction that is devastating our communities.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: Piracha, a former general surgeon and licensed physician, opened the Piracha Wellness pain clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2012 as the owner and sole practitioner. In late 2012, Drug Enforcement Administration agents began investigating suspicious activity at the clinic and made numerous undercover visits to the clinic posing as patients over a five-month period.
During these undercover visits, Piracha conducted only brief physical examinations in the initial visit before prescribing high doses of oxycodone, methadone, and alprazolam. In follow-up visits, Piracha conducted no physical or medical examinations at all and continued to prescribe massive doses of painkillers, including additional prescriptions of medications at the patients’ request without a legitimate medical purpose. Data analysis of patient records also showed that many patients traveled long distances to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances from the clinic, including more than a dozen regular patients who traveled nearly 200 miles from Vidalia and Hazlehurst.
Nisar Piracha, 63, of Norcross, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor L. Ross to seven years and three months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Piracha also agreed to the forfeiture of over $425,000 in proceeds from his pill mill operation. Piracha was convicted on this charge on December 21, 2016, after he pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan P. Kitchens prosecuted the case.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.
Follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.